Lamont Butler may not yet be household names, but that could change quickly. The Moreno Valley resident and senior guard has quickly emerged as one of college basketball’s most exciting and clutch players, leading San Diego State Aztecs to their inaugural appearance at a National Championship Game 2023.
Butler’s journey to the Final Four wasn’t an easy one. Throughout, he faced injuries, doubts and challenges that tested him mentally but never gave up on achieving his dream of playing at a top-level and making history for both his school and community.
A Record-Breaking High School Career
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Butler began playing basketball at a very early age, following in his father’s footsteps of being a professional overseas. At Riverside Poly High School he earned four-year letterman status under coach Yancy Dodson as well as being recognized as a star player.
He led his Bears high school team to an astounding 91 victories during his high school career, including an unblemished record in Ivy League play in his senior year. Additionally, he broke their all-time scoring record held by NBA great Reggie Miller by surpassing it with over 1,800 career points scored at school.
Butler was an in-demand recruit, garnering offers from multiple Division I programs such as UCLA, USC and Arizona. However, he ultimately decided on San Diego State due to their winning culture and coach Brian Dutcher’s trust in him.
A Breakout Season at San Diego State
As a freshman at San Diego State, Butler made an immediate impact as an average of 6.2 points, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals were averaged per game he participated in – helping the Aztecs claim both Mountain West regular season and tournament titles and secure an NCAA Tournament seed of No. 6.
He experienced knee issues early in his sophomore season that resulted in him only playing 10 games, averaging 4.1 points and 1.9 assists per contest. Undergoing surgery, he underwent rehabilitation intensively before returning to action on court.
As a junior, he returned to full strength and became the starting point guard for the Aztecs, averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game while earning third-team All-Mountain West honors and Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year distinctions. Additionally, he hit two game-winning buzzer beaters against New Mexico and Florida Atlantic respectively before reaching the Final Four.
Butler propelled the Aztecs to their best season ever, going 35-4 and reaching their first ever national championship game – falling to Gonzaga after an overtime contest; Butler finished with 18 points and six assists during that game!
A Bright Future Ahead
Butler decided to return for his senior season despite declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft and receiving positive feedback from scouts and teams alike. He stated his goals of finishing his degree, improving his game, and making one final attempt at victory alongside his teammates for their bid at another championship title.
He is expected to become one of the country’s elite guards and could potentially be selected in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft. With an array of skills – scoring, passing, defending, leading – he is adept at making big plays when needed most and has proven it time and again.
Lamont Butler is one of the rising stars at San Diego State basketball and one to keep an eye out for in this year. Already making history for both his school and city, Lamont still has one more year to showcase his talent and work towards his ultimate goal – winning a national championship!